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Drawing Red Lines

Blue-&-White Lines
for Fair Play
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We The Undersigned...

Restoring Sanity to the Israel Discourse

Red Lines against Delegitimization; Blue-&-White Lines for Fair Play

We, the undersigned, representing a wide range of opinion and speaking as individuals, not for our respective institutions, denounce the growing attempts to delegitimize Israel. We share a commitment to a two-state solution with a Jewish, democratic Israel living peacefully besides a democratic Palestine. We do not see how anyone who claims to support the two-state solution to bring peace can delegitimize one nationalist movement or another.

Averse to censorship, coercion or any limitation on the freedom of speech or expression, we urge supporters and critics of Israeli policy to keep their discussions within the following “blue and white lines”:

  • Zionism, meaning Jewish nationalism, is the Jewish people’s national liberation movement, the collective force that has helped Jews achieve self-determination as a people in their homeland.
  • The State of Israel fulfills the Jewish people’s national aspirations in their ancestral homeland. This affirmation acknowledges the Jews as a people, united by a common past, culture and language, rooted in their homeland, the land of Israel. The modern state of Israel is a natural outgrowth of Jews’ three-thousand year- old relationship with the land of Israel.
  • Israel is a democratic state striving to offer all its citizens, including Palestinian Israelis, “full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions,” as Israel’s Declaration of Independence guarantees.
  • Affirming Israel’s and Zionism’s legitimacy and acknowledging Jews’ historic claim to their land does not negate Palestinian claims to that same geographical space. History is complex. A peaceful solution requires compromise from both sides regarding what they consider their legitimate national and territorial rights.
Keeping passionate, critical, even hard-hitting discussion within these “blue and white” lines requires not crossing these “red lines” in discussing Israel, Zionism, and the Middle East:
  • Denying Israel’s Right to Exist as well as Delegitimizing the Zionist movement and Jewish State: Assaulting Jews’ legitimacy as a people, Jews’ valid claims to the land, or Jews’ right to national self-determination in Israel, crosses the line from legitimate criticism to an aggressive a-historical negationism. Labeling the founding of Israel a “colonial enterprise” distorts the meaning of colonialism, negating the Jewish people’s ongoing relationship with the land of Israel.
  • Demonization: Equating Israel and Zionism with the twentieth century’s worst racist ideologies such as Nazism and South African Apartheid, or treating Israel as uniquely cruel in order to deny it moral legitimacy, is not only demonstrably untrue but inflammatory, and incompatible with aspirations for peace and mutual respect.
  • Double Standards: Calling Zionism – but no other nationalism – racism, holding Israel and its army to artificially high standards by which no other nation or military is judged, or subjecting Israel to the kind of disproportionate criticism it endures in the United Nations, are all acts of bad faith.
  • Essentialism: Jumping from vigorously denouncing particular policies to repudiating Israel or Zionism raises the stakes destructively, and has a long infamous pedigree rooted in anti-Semitism.
  • Promoting the One State Solution - Trying to resolve the Mideast conflict by advocating one bi-national state in former Mandatory Palestine entails dissolving Israel as the expression of the Jewish people’s right for self-determination and is an unrealistic and destructive solution, likely to cause more bloodshed.
  • Trying to Undo the Establishment of Israel, Implicitly or Explicitly - Emphasizing the “right of return,” or displaying maps of Mandatory Palestine without Israel, shifts the conversation from debating borders to attacking Israel’s right to exist. Those still seeking a victory in the 1948 war seek to keep Israel’s very existence a matter of international debate, no matter how destructive and distracting that might be.
We regret to note that, among others, activists in the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement repeatedly cross these red lines. Their tactics are rooted in the “Durban Strategy” to ostracize and delegitimize Israel adopted by the NGO Forum at the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism. We condemn those who reject Israel entirely rather than debating one policy or even a group of policies, instead suggesting that Israel is fundamentally illegitimate.

We urge honest critics of Israeli policy to distance themselves from the stains of the past and the poisons of the present, keeping the debate focused on the actions and policies of all the participants in the conflict, rather than Israel’s essence, or Israel’s existential right to exist.
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If you agree with these sentiments, please sign your name below. By signing you consent to have your name listed publicly but your email address will be kept confidential. Thank you.

Signed:Download a printable PDF version of the Petition Here

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Institutional Affiliation

Name Affiliation   Name Affiliation
Nita Reguer Ehad Ha'am High School   Tamar Schattner-Elmaleh Montclair State University
Fred Berkelhammer   David Schwartz CJAED
Andrei Borenstein   Mike Lefkowitz The Semel Group
Joel Pitkowsky Congregation Beth Israel, Worcester, MA  Lillian Mueller Association Switzerland-Israel, Canton Ticino
Bella Center   adi schwartz
omri zegen Reut Institute  Talia Gorodess The Reut Institute
yael weisz the reut institute  gil murciano reut institute & ICSR
Netaly Ophir   Joshua Teitelbaum IDC, Herzliya
Nevet Basker Community Activist and Speaker  Frances Blau
Daphna Kaufman Reut Institute  Daniel Zaretsky
Deborah Roytenberg   Rita Tenenbaum
ruthie saragosti Yedidim  Beth Burnham JCA Portland Maine
Mel Borenstein Hebrew University  BERNHARD LAZARUS israel academia monitor
Sheldon Zimmerman Rabbi, Jewish Center of the Hamptons  Helene Topaz
gary acheatel Advocates for Israel  amy sheon
Philip Greenberg   Paula Barrett
Maureen Molot Carleton University  Yisrael Rich Bar Ilan University
Feige Kaplan McGill University  Vivian Falk
david brumer AJC/Kline Galland Jewish Hospice; Seattle  Russell Blumer Humber River Regional Hospital
Calev Ben Dor Reut Institute  Jerry Teitel University of Toronto
Elliot Doft   Frances Kaufman Doft
Lawrie Weiser   Irving Melnick
Dovie Melnick   Terri Lipton
Marnie Toben   Douglas Cohen
stephanie osbourne   Asher Dresner
Wilf Mandel   Philip Greenberg
Danny Siegel   Sam Mitnick
Joanne Emerman   Louis Sack Mahal
Rachel Finglass   Dorothy Rotholz
Mike Lefkowitz AIPAC  Dale Boidman
Sam Greenberg   Mark Mendelson
Nathan Boidman   Leor Sinai American Zionist Movement
Rob Yale   David H. Goldberg Dynamic Global Information Service (DGIS)
Suzanne Weinstein   Sharon Yale
Eve Teichman Queen's University  Kevin Wiener University of Western Ontario
Jonathan Teichman York University  Noah Kadish
sid cohen   Barry Goren
Constance Solomon   Jack Kincler Various charitable organizations
Adam Gporny   Gary Selikow
Barbara Schiller   Rochelle Michaels
Ran Sagee   Vita Pliskow
Zach Paikin Hasbara Fellowships  Stephen Roseman Roseman, Beerman & Beerman
Irwin Gerson   bernard shuster
carla burshtein   Mort Lechter
Stanley Plotnick   Stephen Lipper
Nancy Rosenfeld   Gerald Steinberg Bar Ilan University
arnold isaacson   dave gordon
Barry Wallach   honi rosen kibbutz ein shemer
Jason Saltiel   Saul Eisenstat
Eran Shayshon the Reut Institute  Menachem Birnbaum Hebrew University
Paul Gross   Armand Amzallag
Tamar Boussi israelforreal.com  David Melman
Daniel Akkerman University of California, Berkeley  lesley levy
julian levy menorah synagogue  Yitzhak Santis
Jeremy Kark Hadassah Medical Organization  bernard and betty hirshowitz
Miri Gal-Ezer Kinneret Academic College Israel  Jacob Maos University of Haifa
Eytan Gilboa Bar Ilan University  Phil Mano
Robert Carroll   Eric Dallal
Christopher Slabchuck   Alexander Feoktistov
Judith Goldfarb   Bakol Ruben Gellar
Mark Seemiller   Janice Epstein
arnie draiman Draiman Consulting Group  Diana Grosz
Danny Pollard   Alan Stein PRIMER-Connecticut
Sarah Angel   Diane Morrison
Muriel Shuchatowitz   Ilan Wagner The Jewish Agency for Israel
Joel Segal   Gil Troy McGill University
Eve Rowell Hebrew College  Guy Seemann Legacy Heritage Fellow
Ran L.   Elad Kimelman
Elie Isaacson Agilite Ltd.